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Gamaliel's Desk
Friday, November 05, 2004
 
Pompous Preachers
Being a Pharisee pastor carries with it great weight and grave responsibility. One of the most important of those responsibilities is to set an example for the next generation of Pharisee preachers to follow in our footsteps. A great deal of what I see in the next generation of Pharisee preachers gives me grave concern. I see the spirit of compromise on every hand, defection from the cherished beliefs of our denomination, a lack of commitment in practicing biblical separation regarding our One True Church (I have even seen Pharisee preachers attend interdenominational conferences and rallies!) and a social activism that threatens to undermine our stand for the Truth. As bad as all of that is, nothing is more disturbing than the arrogance and pomposity of the new generation of Pharisee preachers. I was sharing my heart on this very matter with another Pharisee pastor friend of mine who sent me an e-mail with the following attachment:

In every generation there are those of an officious spirit who aspire to leadership, demanding deference from their fellows. Such men, especially when they are endowed with natural gifts above the average, are the kind who become the founders of new sects and parties, and insist upon unqualified subjection from their followers. Their interpretation of the Scriptures must not be challenged, their dicta are final. They must be owned as rabbis and submitted to as fathers. Everyone must believe precisely what they teach, and order all the details of his life by the rules of conduct which they prescribe, or else be branded as a heretic and denounced as a gratifier of the lusts of the flesh. There have been, and still are, many such self-elevated little popes in Christendom, who deem themselves to be entitled to implicit credence and obedience, whose decisions must be accepted without question. They are nothing but arrogant usurpers, for Christ alone is the Rabbi or Master of Christians; and since all of His disciples be brethren they possess equal rights and privileges.
(Arthur W. Pink, Practical Christianity, p. 178)

This is so descriptive of the next generation of Pharisee pastors that it could have been written yesterday instead of years ago. It is exactly what I see going on in these newer Pharisee churches all across our country. It seems like a week doesn’t go by but some formerly trustworthy Pharisee pastor doesn’t assume the mantle of self-importance and sets himself up as his own sovereign. These men start churches with unconventional names like The River or Fellowship of Faith or some other vague appellation that seeks to conceal their affiliation with the True Pharisee church. As far as I am concerned, if they are too ashamed to call themselves Pharisees, then I am too ashamed to admit them into our fellowship. Nor will I tolerate members who think they can visit such churches, participate with them in their ungodly worship using all manner of musical instruments and soundtracks, clapping and all that nonsense and still be welcomed back into our fellowship contaminated with all these dangerous new ideas and practices. If any of my members try that, they will be immediately dismissed from our church and ostracized. After all, it only takes a little leaven to leaven the whole lump. Do you see how divisive and dangerous this new generation of preachers has become?

These preachers have such a low view of the Word of God that they don’t even use the right version of the Bible. They have abandoned tried and true theological understanding and are embracing all sorts of new beliefs. Instead of coming to us older Pharisee pastors who have been around the block, they turn to modern writers and embrace every sort of heretical idea that comes along. My fellows and I have been interpreting and rightly dividing the word of God longer than most of these young fellows have been alive. And we are absolutely firm, steadfast and unwavering in our beliefs - unlike them who are swayed by every wind of doctrine and the sleight and cunning craftiness of men. I would estimate that I haven’t changed a single one of my beliefs in over forty years of being a Pharisee pastor. They change beliefs nearly as often as they change underwear. And then they have the conceit to say to me that I am rigid and inflexible and intolerant to new ideas as if that is a bad thing. They want to force me into their wishy-washy mode of skepticism and doubt that constantly questions the most fundamental assumptions of our faith. One of the ironic things of this new breed of “Pharisee” pastor is that they believe one and all that no two Pharisee preachers should hold to EXACTLY the same set of beliefs. They are uniform in their call for non-conformity. In fact they are universally suspicious of those of us who all believe the same thing without question or vacillation. Well, I for one will not be dictated to on what I need to believe in order to be spiritual. I believe uniformity is essential to the Christian life. How can two walk together except they be agreed? This militant adherence to individuality is an intolerable compromise with the world, in my opinion, and should not be allowed.

It should be abundantly clear to you by now that these preachers are exactly as Pink described – arrogant usurpers who deny that all of us possess equal rights and privileges. These men clearly do not have the right to judge me as an older and wiser pastor and they should defer to me instead of going about to make decisions on their own. They are like Rehoboam who listened to the council of his peers instead of the older men who were wiser and more experienced. As everyone knows, age has its privilege and these young pastors should recognize that. It is our task as older Pharisee pastors to chart the course of the faith and it is their task to follow along meekly, humbly, gratefully in imitation of Jesus Christ, who learned obedience through the things that he suffered.

Gamaliel/rjp


Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye. You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)


Comments:
I have also done some research on the Kings of Israel and thought I might share this information with the others who are interested. I also researched the tribe they were from, the approximate time that they lived as well as the contemporaries of the time. If you are interested you might want to check it out at http://www.BibleFamilyTree.com .
 
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